Survivors Speak Out With Emotional Testimonies

Tags: Currents Catholic Education, Pope Francis, World News

Currents News Staff

On Summit day two, survivors are not speaking about what is going on inside the Synod Hall, but rather what forever haunts them in their memories.

Horrific stories of abuse being told in Rome. These victims gathered with photos of themselves as children to share their abuse stories.

For many, the emotions couldn’t be contained as memories and anger were vocalized on Friday afternoon.

“Nobody from the Vatican reached out. Nobody from the archdiocese of my country reached out to talk to me or anyone, or even help me,” said Juan Baya from Ecuador.

There were victims from New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland just to name a few.

“This is the priest who abused me for 12 years. I didn’t realize until about six years ago, when I started to bring my disclosure forward and go to therapy that I had been singled out as his pet lamb. Lamb led to the slaughter,” said Bernadette Howell from Ireland.

One victim from Newfoundland and Labrador, Gemma Hickey, is transgender and was abused as a young girl.

“When that priest was on top of me, and his cross was hitting off my chin, it was the only thing to focus on to take me out of what was happening,” said Gemma Hickey from Canada.

Dan Sherwood from the United States says he first shared his story of abuse, which began at age nine, just last week, before coming to Rome.

“We trusted him. When he was abusing me, he always said, ‘This is what a father does for his son.’ I never had a dad, so I didn’t know,” said Sherwood.

Now these survivors support each other through the tears and hugs. It was an emotional meeting that sought to unite past experiences with the justice being sought today as bishops from all over the world are here in Rome.

The group also encourages other survivors around the world to courageously share their stories, so abuse of children will remain a part of the past.